Demisexuality: What to know
Demisexuality is a type of sexuality or sexual orientation. People who identify as demisexual only feel sexual attraction to another person if they form a strong emotional bond or connection with them first.
Keep reading for more information about what a demisexual is and how demisexuality differs from other sexual orientations. We also provide the answers to some other frequently asked questions on the subject.
Some people only feel sexual attraction toward those with whom they have developed a strong personal bond. If this is the case, the person is known as being demisexual.
According to the Demisexuality Resource Center, a person who is demisexual will feel sexual attraction and desire to engage in sexual activities far more rarely than the general population.
For example, most people can feel sexually attracted to random people whom they meet in public or at work or school. In some cases, this is based purely on physical attraction and comes from simply seeing the person.
In contrast, a demisexual will only feel sexual attraction toward a person once they have had the chance to develop a strong emotional bond with them. If they feel a sexual attraction toward a person, they may choose to engage in sexual activity with them, but the urge is often weaker. In some cases, it may never develop, despite the emotional connection.
In other words, an emotional bond does not guarantee that the person will have any sexual desire, but it is necessary for them even to consider sexual activity.
The emotional bond that a demisexual person feels does not necessarily need to be romantically inclined. The bond could be due to a close and otherwise platonic relationship with another person.
The time that it takes for this emotional bond to develop can vary greatly from person to person. For some demisexual people, certain situations — such as sharing a short-lived experience with someone — can trigger a quick onset of a bond. For others, the bond can take years to develop.
Either way, a bond does not guarantee that the person will feel sexual attraction, and, even if they do, it does not necessarily mean that they will act on it.
Several other sexual identities share similarities with demisexuality, but there are some key differences.
A person who identifies as asexual feels no sexual connection with any other people and has no desire to have sex. The asexual spectrum, according to the Demisexual Resource Center, has asexuality at one end and nonasexuality at the other.
Demisexuality falls somewhere in the middle of this spectrum because a demisexual person will feel very little sexual attraction toward others. However, the key difference is that demisexual people can feel sexual attraction and a desire to have sex once they have developed an emotional bond with another person.
You can read more about asexuality here.
Gray-a or gray asexuality, like demisexuality, is on the asexual spectrum. Unlike demisexuality, though, a person who identifies as gray-a experiences infrequent or less intense sexual attraction or desire to engage in sexual activities.
According to GLAAD, an organization that work to promote transgender acceptance and rights, a person who is gray-a may feel sexual attraction due to any number of different circumstances.
People who identify as gray-a may:
- experience sexual attraction infrequently, but it does occur sometimes
- experience sexual attraction but have a low sex drive
- have specific reasons why they feel attracted to and enjoy sex with others
While gray-asexual and demisexual people both experience sexual attraction infrequently, the key difference here is that gray-asexual people do not necessarily require an emotional bond to feel sexual attraction.
Gray-a is a very inclusive sexual orientation, meaning that there are a lot of ways in which a person could identify themselves as gray-a. According to the Demisexual Resource Center, a person can define gray-a however they choose.
Demisexuality is also similar to sapiosexuality in some ways. The main similarity is that a person who identifies as sapio has a limited number of people to whom they may be attracted, as does a demisexual person.
The major difference, however, is that a person who identifies as sapiosexual is attracted to intelligence or the mind of the other person. Here, the emotional bond is not the crucial factor.
The authors of a recent study that investigated whether IQ specifically was the most attractive trait for sapiosexuals concluded that it was not the most important factor. According to the findings of this study, subjective intelligence seemed to be more important than objective intelligence, which is what an IQ test measures.
A person who identifies as pansexual can be sexually attracted to anyone, regardless of their gender, sexual orientation, or sexual identity.
The level of attraction that they feel toward people of different gender identities may vary. In other words, a person who identifies as pansexual may be more physically interested in females but still find that they are sexually attracted to some males, as well.
Putting a label on a certain sexual identity can help people feel included and realize that they are not alone. By choosing the label of demisexual, a person can join a larger community of people who also identify as demisexual. Doing this may help them feel supported, support others, and find acceptance.
Sexual acts and sexual attraction are separate entities.
A person who identifies as demisexual may feel sexual attraction to a person with whom they are close, but they may not have a high sex drive or desire to engage in sexual activities with the person.
Just like other people, those who identify as demisexual can have different levels of sex drive, but generally, demisexual people do have the capacity to desire sex.
Most people can feel sexually attracted to a few different people at any given time, regardless of an emotional connection or degree of familiarity. A person’s desire to have sex with others does not necessarily remain limited to those they know well.
Though some people may choose only to have sex in an established relationship, others may desire to have sex with someone they just met. Both approaches toward sex are completely normal.
A person who identifies as demisexual will only develop sexual feelings toward a person if they have a close emotional bond with them.
This sexual attraction does not necessarily mean that the person wants to engage in sexual activities with the other person.
Demisexuality is part of the asexual spectrum, which means that a person who identifies as demisexual is likely to have a lower-than-average sex drive.
However, while asexual people completely refrain from sexual activities, a demisexual person may engage in sexual relations once an emotional bond or connection has formed.